200 local kids benefit from Payless Shoe gift
by DELANEY WALKER Banner Staff Writer
Feb 16, 2014 | 1821 views | 0 0 comments | 25 25 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Payless shoes
MEMBERS of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Cleveland wait patiently to purchase new shoes at the Payless Shoes store in Chattanooga. Each child received a $20 gift card through the Payless Gives Shoes 4 Kids program.
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Payless ShoeSource played to its strength and offered charity partners more than $1.5 million worth of free shoes to economically disadvantaged children across America.

Members of the local Boys & Girls Clubs have benefitted from the nonprofit’s relationship with the foot-savvy business.

According to staff member Ashley Jones, Payless Gives Shoes 4 Kids benefitted 200 local children.

“One of the greatest things about it is I think it helps our staff and kids know they are valued, and not just by us,” Jones said. “Other people are alongside and saying we think you are worth investing in. We think you are worth this gift.”

The local BGC applied for the opportunity in fall of 2013.

Jones explained the need is greater than the requested amount. She said the Cleveland clubs did not want to take advantage of the company’s generosity.

Jones said the local clubs’ location in impoverished neighborhoods and at-risk youth members met the requirements for the donation.

Numbers provided by the Boys and Girls Clubs of Cleveland revealed more than 60 percent of the 1,800 members are considered economically disadvantaged.

Jones said some members’ parents are unable to afford new shoes.

Payless ShoesSource distributed $20 gift cards to all selected charity partners. Cardholders can use the money at the closest Payless Shoes store. Cleveland recipients visited a store in Chattanooga.

Jones distributed the cards between the seven units. Membership numbers determined the number of cards received by each club. Unit directors individually decided how to distribute the cards.

Some directors promised the cards to the first members who signed-up and attained parent signatures.

Others went straight to the parents.

Jones added, “Especially in the smaller units. There is a kind of family-feel to them. Those units are ones I see a lot more of the unit directors speaking to the parents of the kids, based on the needs that are there.”

Jones continued, “I think it is important for our parents to know we are there for their kids. We do have their best interests in mind. This is not just an organization. We do try to create a family within our units. It is using every opportunity to kind of make those connections and not letting them go to waste.”

Visits to the shoe store provide an opportunity for the young members to practice real life skills. A $20 gift card and an array of shoes means a decisions has to be made. Cleveland club administrators encourage staff to seize the opportunity for multi-faceted learning.

According to Jones, budgeting, math, weighing the pros and cons and critical thinking go into a single purchase. A child might ask, “Do I really want this pair, or do I want two pairs of shoes for the price of one?”

Members must also behave properly with manners and respect.

Jones added, “It is the whole gambit in one adventure.”